A record eight players earned more than $1 million in 2012, the AFL has revealed.
The previous mark of two millionaires in 2008 and 2011 was smashed thanks largely to the expansion of the competition, free agency and the current broadcast rights deal.
The AFL refused to reveal the names of the game's highest earners, although Gold Coast captain Gary Ablett Jr and Greater Western Sydney midfielder Tom Scully were believed to have been on the list.
Hawthorn superstar Lance Franklin, St Kilda skipper Nick Riewoldt and Carlton midfielder Chris Judd were also expected to earn seven-figure sums.
The wages do not include private third-party deals such as Judd's arrangement with Visy, which must be included in the salary cap for the 2013 season.
The average player wage jumped from $237,388 to $251,559 in 2012, with overall player income reaching almost $174m when additional costs such as injury allowances, the veterans list and finals incentives were included.
In total, 51 players pocketed more than $500,000, up from 40 in 2011.
While just two players banked between $800,000 and $1 million and four between $700,000 and $800,000, 37 players earned between $500,000 and $700,000.
The most popular salary was between $100,000 and $200,000, with 199 players, while 170 received between $200,000 and $300,000.
Of the 725 players listed across the competition, just 21 earned less than $60,000.